I started this post series identifying the need to take back control of my days once I realized I was letting my inbox set the tone and priorities for the day.
I’ve long known that my best hours for deep work has been ~8:30 am until ~2:00 pm. Checking email so often throughout the day was done more out of habit and fear than true necessity. I can see now that I didn’t actually need to know immediately that I had received yet another coupon for my favorite store, or that people were looking at my profile on LinkedIn, or that a client was going out of town this weekend. You get my drift. All of these emails would still be there in a few hours, ready for me to respond (or delete).
Now my daily process is relatively simple, even though it took nearly a year to evolve into what it is today. Its success lies in continually testing my assumptions and experimenting to find my sweet spot.
A year ago, I was checking email first thing in the morning…and also approximately every hour throughout the day. Yeah, it was pretty much a never-ending chore!
I reduced that to three times a day, with the earliest being around 11 am.
Now I only check email once a day and it’s typically late in the afternoon. My former email-obsessed self would be shocked. But it turns out my overall well-being and personal satisfaction has risen substantially because I’m getting the most important stuff done each day. Imagine that.
The next step for me will be to figure out how to have one full day each week with absolutely no distractions. No Slack. No Texts. No Phone Calls. I know! But I feel as though one distraction-free day would give me the same working time as I get in two typical days. I’m not certain what this looks like yet, but it’s going to be my next experiment. It will be interesting for sure.
There’s one wish I have for my readers. I hope you figure out what works for YOU, YOUR business, YOUR life.
- A digital, cloud-based planner
- A hard copy planner (such as this, this or this)
- A printed monthly calendar
- Alarms **
- Timers **
- Pen and paper
- A Ouija board and séance (kidding!)
**TIP: Using Amazon Echo for alarms and timers are a lifesaver for me.
Or maybe it’s something as simple as a Post-It.
Or, like me, some combination of all the above.
Most importantly, realize there is no one size fits all. I hope my musings will spark ideas of possibility and the associated freedom that can be achieved by challenging the status quo. And once you figure it out, be sure to come back and let me know what you’ve discovered works for you!